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Red Hot Chili Peppers Get Away From Expectations with “The Getaway”

Music Reviews :: 08.31.16

By Alex LaRosa:

Not many bands stick around for 11 records, and those that do often find themselves in the creative slump that comes with age and commercial success. But that’s not quite the case for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Never a band to settle, the four-piece funk-rock outfit from Los Angeles tapped the production skills of Danger Mouse, perhaps trying to get away from expectations.

Maybe that’s why they called the new album “The Getaway.” The follow-up to 2011’s critically acclaimed “I’m With You,” the Red Hot Chili Peppers have returned to the charts in slick, mature fashion. There’s not much of an edge to be found on the record’s 13 songs, but that’s okay. Found instead are clean, bass-heavy, and well-produced funk-rock tracks that can make any listener bop their head back and forth.

Drummer Chad Smith sounds larger than life behind the kit, but not heavy or processed. The bassist Flea keeps things constantly moving forward, and hasn’t lost one iota of energy on his funk technique. Josh Klinghoffer’s guitar lines are mostly sensitive, melodic, and never overpowering. Finally, Anthony Kiedis switches seamlessly between gentle singing that graces songs like “Goodbye Angels” and the lyrical sorcery that marks songs like “We Turn Red.”

Clocking in at 54 minutes, this studio effort is generally much calmer than their earlier releases, but that’s not to say that it’s a smooth voyage the whole way. “Goodbye Angels” closes with a rough-and-tumble outro section and “This Ticonderoga” makes prominent use of a crunchy guitar tone.

Lyrically, Kiedis keeps things both multisyllabic and mellifluous, true to form. What other band could rhyme “avocado” and “desperado” without sounding thoroughly ridiculous? Songs like “Goodbye Angels,” which deals with suicide, juxtaposed with slaphappy sex songs like the album’s second single “Go Robot” might be bizarre if another band tried it. But that’s exactly what the Chili Peppers do best: blend the dark with the daring, the beautiful with the bold.

Of course, even the Red Hot Chili Peppers can’t escape their legacy. Kiedis still has California on his mind all the time, getting lost in the Golden State in the record’s title track and simply California dreamin’ in “Sick Love.” He even makes reference to his band mate Flea in “This Ticonderoga.” And it wouldn’t be a Chili Peppers album without some prominent slap bass, and so Flea finds himself pushing his bass to the limit on most of the songs. But like with the rest of the record, it’s no big deal, and in fact, it’s these features that made the band so famous.

Overall, “The Getaway” feels like a complete, cohesive record made by a band that knows their strengths but isn’t afraid to test their weak points either. It’s a solid record, and it almost guarantees that there will be more chart topping good times to come.

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